Two years ago, Mercyhurst College earned its first ever trip to the women’s Frozen Four in Boston, Mass.
The Lakers ended up losing in the championship game, 5-0, to the University of Wisconsin.
After that game, a few players graduated, but most were fired up to start the next season and begin another run at the title.
However, the team’s captain and then-junior Meghan Agosta didn’t know whether she would be back right away.
Agosta would soon hear during the summer of 2009 that she was invited to the Vancouver Olympics and try for a second gold medal in women’s hockey.
And back in Erie, the rest of the team returned to school and practice for the 2009-2010 season.
Agosta and the Canadian National team went on to win the gold medal in February at the Vancouver Olympics.
The Lakers’ women’s hockey team ended up losing in the NCAA semifinals to Cornell University.
But this season, Agosta is back in Erie and looking to bring that first championship to Mercyhurst.
Women’s hockey coach Michael Sisti was certainly happy to have back a two-time gold medalist.
“She is a great person, and from a hockey standpoint, she brings knowledge, leadership and experience to the team…she is another great player for other teams to have to worry about,” Sisti said.
Training with the best female hockey players in Canada is bound to change a player’s skill level, but Sisti noticed that Agosta has “taken training more serious than ever before. She has been very focused.”
“It is certainly special to see a young kid come in here and watch them play and grow and mature as players,” Sisti says.
Coaching someone with Agosta’s resume might be difficult, but not in this case.
Sisti spoke of a great “mutual respect between the players and coaches” and cited this as a key ingredient for a national title run.
After taking a year off to just train and play hockey, Agosta had one problem coming back to Mercyhurst—her schoolwork.
“School was definitely the most difficult adjustment, and it was tough to balance school and hockey again,” Agosta said.
When asked whether she kept up with the team during her time away, she responded with a resounding “definitely,” even finding time to attend the CHA playoffs and watch her teammates.
“Mercyhurst was/is a part of me, and leaving was hard, but I knew that I would have another shot to come back for a national championship, whether it was the (2009-10) season or after the Olympics,” Agosta said.
When this season began, there was one question that wasn’t answered until everyone was back on the ice: Who would be captain?
Senior Vicki Bendus was the captain last season, and won the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in Division I women’s hockey.
Agosta was voted as team captain, with Bendus and fellow senior Jesse Scanzano serving as assistant captains.
“It was certainly an honor, but I just wanted to play and bring my experience to the team, we lead by example on the ice, and the letter on your chest doesn’t matter as much. We are a team,” Agosta says.
Since the start of this season, the Lakers have looked like a very special team as a whole. Agosta is also tied for fifth in the nation in scoring and fourth in points but feels things could be better.
“I just want to be more consistent, I feel that I haven’t played up to my ability so far this season, and I just need to play my game,” Agosta said.
So far, the 12-2 Lakers are off to quite a start, currently holding the third spot in USCHO.com’s weekly poll.
Agosta said she “knew we had something special here and the makings of a great team.”
Through 14 games, she has been right. The Lakers already have beaten Cornell, the current No. 1 program and the team who ended Mercyhurst’s season in March.
Consistency is the key to the Lakers’ success.
“Personal awards are last on my list of things I want to accomplish. I just want to let this year be the best one I have had at Mercyhurst,” Agosta said.
The Lakers travel to St. Lawrence University for two games this weekend.